Stone Age Secrets for Mind and Body
Here’s an extract from my forthcoming eBook Stone Age Secrets for Mind and Body.
I once read of an exercise program for the elderly where physiotherapists took participants to neighbourhood parks and taught them to stretch and move their bodies.
What got my attention was a woman who said she’d lived in the area for ten years and had never visited any of her local greenery.
Other people said it was good to breathe fresh air and how little they had done this until the program began.
Our Stone Age ancestors would find this unimaginable because they were always outside.
In contrast, we live mostly indoors surrounded by gadgets, pleasant temperatures, homogeneous floor surfaces, and processed food.
Mushrooms thrive in this environment, but we’re creatures of the air and sun and we need to move.
The remedy is to get out more and why wait until we’re old and stiff and for someone else to organise it for us?
Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
~ Steven Wright
These days we know a lot about the body and how it works. We certainly know more about its anatomy and physiology than did our Mesolithic forebears. Scientific experiments consistently find that our physical and mental wellbeing improve when we get off the couch and exercise.
Yet millions of us are fat and depressed and riddled with chronic health problems.
Walking’s a fine way to counter sloth and melancholy and Mesolithic people must have felt upbeat most of the time because they walked everywhere.
I like walking because it’s gentle and resists my urge to get somewhere as quickly as possible.
Here’s what science knows about walking:
- It’s a low-impact exercise that puts minimal stress on muscles and joints.
- It reduces the need for medication. Researchers from The National Walkers’ Health Study, which comprised 32000 women and 8000 men, found those who took the longest weekly walks took less medications.
- It confers longer breast cancer survival. Women who walk regularly after being diagnosed with breast cancer have a 45 per cent greater chance of survival than those who are inactive, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
- It lessens stroke risk as long as people do a brisk 30 minute walk, five days a week.
- It builds bones because walking requires that we carry our own body weight.
- It reduces heart disease risk.
- It improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- It stabilises body weight.
- It lowers breast and colon cancer risk.
- It cuts the prospect of non-insulin dependent (Type 2) diabetes.
- It improves mood.
Here’s what artists and poets and philosophers know about walking:
- Walking develops independence and confidence because we rely on our own body to get somewhere.
- Walking invites adventure because it allows us access to places unreachable by car. A Western shaman once took a group of us into a forest that ran alongside a busy road. We rambled over fallen trees and through dense vegetation until we reached a beautiful grove that reminded me of Rivendell, the elf city in Lord of the Rings. The shaman told us few people knew this place existed even though it was next to a large town. I remember thinking how glad I was that cars were unable to ruin it.
- “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
- “She walks in beauty, like the night. Of countless climbs and starry skies…” ~ Lord Byron, She Walks in Beauty.
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About the author
Claire Bell is the health and wellbeing editor of Midlifexpress. She is the author of Stone Age Secrets for Mind and Body and Comma Magic. Print and ebooks available on Amazon.